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Monday's Tip Sheet
Eastern Conference First Round
No. 6 Miami at No. 3 Philaelphia (TNT, 8:05 p.m. ET)

2017-18 Regular Season (Series tied 2-2)
Mar. 8 - Heat (-1) vs. 76ers 108-99 (Under 210.5)
Feb. 27 - Heat (-1) vs. 76ers 102-101 (Under 205)
Feb. 14 - 76ers (-4.5) vs. Heat 104-102 (Over 202.5)
Feb. 2 - 76ers (-4) vs. Heat 103-97 (Under 203)

2017-18 Postseason (76ers 1-0)
Apr. 14 - 76ers (-6.5) vs. Heat 130-103 (Over 214)

The 76ers last suffered a defeat on March 13 at home against the Pacers. Philadelphia finished the regular season with 16 consecutive wins, while extending that overall streak to 17 victories in a row with Saturday’s 130-103 blowout of Miami.

The Heat built a 12-point first quarter lead at 35-23, but the Sixers scored the final six points of the quarter to trail by six. Philadelphia headed into the half down, 60-56, but blew the game open in the third quarter by outscoring Miami, 34-18, thanks to five treys. The Sixers dropped a 40-point spot in the fourth quarter to easily cash as 5 ½-point favorites, while picking up the franchise’s first playoff win since Game 6 of the 2012 Eastern Conference semifinals.

The key to Philadelphia’s success in Game 1 was its prowess from long range by hitting 18-of-28 three-point attempts. The trio of J.J. Redick, Marco Belinelli, and Dario Saric each knocked down four three-pointers, while Belinelli led the way with 25 points off the bench. Ben Simmons struggled from the floor in his playoff debut (5-of-13), but the Sixers’ young star scored 17 points and dished out 14 assists, while pulling down nine rebounds.

Miami’s starting five had its problems hitting shots as Goran Dragic, Tyler Johnson, James Johnson, Josh Richardson, and Hassan Whiteside combined to shoot 13-of-40. Whiteside put together a putrid effort by scoring only two points in 12 minutes of action, but Kelly Olynyk pumped in 26 points off the bench to help Miami reach triple-figures.

Expecting the Heat to right the ship in Game 2 and even up this series appears to be a long shot when you look at Miami’s form outside of South Florida plus the recent NBA playoff trends for visitors.

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VegasInsider.com NBA analyst Chris David explained, “Only 10 teams in the NBA posted winning records on the road and the Heat weren’t one of them. Including Saturday’s loss, the Miami is now 5-16 in their last 21 away games and that includes a 1-11 mark against playoff teams while allowing 109.8 PPG in those 12 contests. Earning a split on the road is nothing more than wishful thinking and bettors should note that in the last three postseasons, home teams have gone 27-5 straight up in Game 2 after winning Game 1 of their series.”

The total for Game 2 opened 215 ½, which was a tad higher than Game 1’s closing number of 214. David believes you have value with the ‘under’ with the contingent that Joel Embiid plays.

“Philadelphia’s offense has been on fire lately and it’s helped the ‘over’ go 5-1 but a lot of the scoring has had to do with their pace, which is much quicker without Embiid in the lineup. His return would pump the breaks on the offense and it would also improve the defense of the 76ers. Philadelphia is still going to chuck from distance but another repeat of 18 triples is unlikely. Plus I don’t see the pair combining for another 60 free throw attempts.”

Although Miami has gone through several roster overhauls throughout the years, the last time Erik Spoelstra’s team trailed, 2-0 in playoff series came back in the opening round of 2010 against Boston. The Heat were knocked out in five games of that series, as Miami has posted a perfect 6-0 record in its last six opportunities in Game 2 of a playoff series after losing the opener since 2011.

Western Conference First Round
No. 7 San Antonio at No. 2 Golden State (TNT, 10:35 p.m. ET)

2017-18 Regular Season (Warriors 3-1)
Mar. 19 Spurs (-8) vs. Warriors 89-75 (Under 210)
Mar. 8 Warriors (-11) vs. Spurs 110-107 (Under 223)
Feb. 10 Warriors (-10.5) vs. Spurs 122-105 (Over 219)
Nov. 2 Warriors (-8.5) at Spurs 112-92 (Under 219.5)

2017-18 Postseason (Warriors 1-0)
Apr. 14 - Warriors (-8) vs. Spurs 113-92 (Under 205.5)

The Warriors struggled towards the end of the regular season by losing seven of their last 12 games. Golden State flipped the switch, at least in Saturday’s Game 1, as the Warriors destroyed the Spurs in a Western Conference Finals rematch, 113-92 as eight-point home favorites.

The victory was the fifth straight in the playoffs for Golden State over San Antonio after sweeping the conference finals in four games last May. Stephen Curry remained out for the Warriors with an MCL injury, but Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant picked up the slack by combining for 51 points. Thompson connected on 11-of-13 shots from the floor, including 5-of-6 from three-point range, while Draymond Green put together a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds.

Steve Kerr’s squad jumped out to a 57-41 halftime lead, while not giving the Spurs any room to come back in Golden State’s sixth consecutive win in a playoff series opener. San Antonio has lost five straight playoff games for the first time since 2010-11 when the Spurs were swept by Phoenix in the second round, followed by a Game 1 loss the next season to Memphis.

The Spurs shot 40% in the Game 1 loss on Saturday, as Rudy Gay led San Antonio with 15 points off the bench. The lone San Antonio starter to post double-figures was LaMarcus Aldridge with 14 points, while the Spurs were outrebounded by the Warriors, 50-31.

The game barely finished UNDER the total of 205 ½, in spite of the two teams combining for 56 points in the final quarter. The Spurs and Warriors needed seven points in the final two minutes to eclipse the OVER, but scored six points, which included two missed free throws. The UNDER improved to 4-1 between San Antonio and Golden State this season, which is in stark contrast to the 6-1 mark to the OVER in 2016-17.

Gregg Popovich’s team will try to fix their road woes as the Spurs are in the midst of a 1-13 SU and 4-10 ATS funk away from AT&T Center since February 10. Only four of those losses came in the favorite role, while the lone victory came at Cleveland as 4 ½-point underdogs, 110-94 on February 25.

Since 2015, the Warriors own a 9-2 SU and 6-5 ATS record in Game 2’s of a series after capturing Game 1. In 2015, Golden State failed to cover in all four opportunities in this situation, but have cashed in six of the past seven chances since 2016.

You can reach Kevin Rogers via e-mail at rogers@vegasinsider.com

Kevin Rogers can be followed on Twitter at virogers.

  
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